24 August 2020
To reduce its environmental impact, this month saw the UK-based department store chain Selfridges announce Project Earth: a five-year sustainability plan that includes a suite of eco-conscious retail products and services. Under the plan, Selfridges will sell second-hand clothing (as part of “Resellfridges,” through which shoppers can also sell their own items for store credit), apparel rental options developed in collaboration with rental platform Hurr, cosmetics refill stations and a product repairs service for damaged clothing. In addition to the new services, Selfridges stores also introduced a curated 'sustainable' section, where shoppers can find low-impact products (such as Prada’s Re-Nylon collection, using nylon made from recycled ocean plastic).
Even though Selfridges mapped out Project Earth long ago, its assortment of eco-offerings taps into consumers’ concerns of the moment. Shoppers are making a connection between their personal health and the health of the planet, with 48% in one survey saying they became more environmentally conscious due to COVID and 55% asserting the pandemic also made them more likely to purchase green products.
So, consumers’ once-gradual shift to being green(er) has accelerated. And Selfridges’ full suite of services only aids this push. It didn’t just debut a one-off, pop-up, drop-off recycling box in its store; Project Earth covers everything from repairs to rentals to refills and yes, to recycling. In this way, the store has the potential to genuinely help people rework the way they live. Not to mention that these newly greenified lifestyles may very well become mainstream. They’re not just for a hippie on the fringe anymore — as evidenced by major retailers like Selfridges and Walmart (it doesn’t get more mainstream than Walmart) getting into resale and reuse.
Your brand’s impact on the environment doesn’t have to be limited to what you do to eco-signal to the public or curb your emissions, internally. It can also encompass what your brand does to actively help consumers curb theirs. How can you maximize your impact and purpose by helping your customers live their best (greenest!) lives?
The TrendWatching content team